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Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early, and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will / do unto this house which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave unto you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. Heb. iii. 13, 15. Exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. While it is said, to-day if ye will hear his voice, harden ?tot your hearts, as in the provocation, vi. (S. It is impossible for those who were. once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame, xii. 17. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it with tears. Prov. xvi. 5. Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished. James, iv. 6. But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 1 Pet. v. 5. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud and giveth grace unto the humble. Psalm x. 3. For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom God abhorreth. 1 Cor. v. 11. Now I have written to you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, of an extortioner; with such a one, no not to eat. vi. 10. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Eph. V. 5. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
23. Q. What is meant by that sin?
A. I suppose it to have been the particular sin of the Jews heretofore, in not only obstinately refusing to receive our blessed Lord for their Messiah, after sufficient proofs given by him to convince them that he was so; hut ascribing those miracles which he wrought in proof of his Divine authority to the help of the devil, when, at the same time, they either were abundantly convinced, or but, for their own faults might have been, that he did them by the power of God. Matt. xii. 31. compare Mark, iii. 20. Wherefore I say unto you, all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. Mark, Verily, I say unto you, all sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies, wherewithsoever they shall blaspheme: but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation: because they said, he hath an unclean spirit. Luke, xii. 10. Whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven.
Proofs Subjoined.—John, v. 44. How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? ix. I6, 30, &c. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, this man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, how can a man thai is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. The man answered and said unto them, why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened my eyes.
24. Q. Do you look upoo this sin to have so wholly belonged to those men, as not to be capable of being committed by any now?
A. That very sin, which in Scripture is so called, cannot now be committed, because Christ is not now upon earth, nor have we therefore any occasion given us thus to blaspheme against the Holy Ghost. Yet some sins there are of a like nature, which may still be committed by us; and which being committed, may prove no less dangerous to those who are guilty of them, than that sin did prove to the Pharisees heretofore.
25. Q. What sins are those, which you suppose to come nearest to it?
A. Apostasy from the Christian religion, after having been convinced of the truth, and made partakers of the promises of it. Next to that, an apostasy from the truth and purity of the Gospel, for the sake of* some worldly fears on the one hand, or of some present hopes and advantages on the other; to the communion of a church, which not only obstinately resists the truth, but damns and persecutes all such as profess it. And, lastly, apostasy to idolatry; which seems to be the sin unto death, spoken of by St. John, 1 John, v. 16, 2I, and for the remission of which he gives us but little encouragement to pray; ver. 16.
26. Q. What then do you think of those who go off from the communion of the church of England, to that of the church of Rome?
A. Generally speaking, as of apostates and idolaters: to whom God may, by an extraordinary effect of his mercy, give grace for repentance, and so for salvation, but of whom otherwise we have but little ground of hope.
27. Q. Do you look upon such to be in a more dangerous estate than those who were from the beginning bred up in the Roman communion?
A. I do: forasmuch as they have both rejected the truth once known and received by them, and cast off" the way in which the Providence of God had placed them; and that, it may be, on some base grounds, to be sure without any sufficient reason, to justisfy their doing of it.
28. Q. What then do you think of those who have always been of the communion of that church.
A. I think them, in general, in much greater danger now, than they were before the Reformation: and still those in more danger who have lived among those of the reformed church, and so were in a better capacity of being convinced of the errors of their way. But most of all do I think the condition of those to * be dangerous, or rather desperate, who being learned know their errors; or, as priests, are called to instruct the people in the purity of Christ's religion. The sincere, and ignorant, who either want capacity, or want opportunity to know the truth, and for that reason are either seduced from it, or continue ignorant of it, I hope God, who knows the hearts of all men, will forgive: the careless, the prejudiced, but most of all, the obstinately blind and hypocritical among them, I cannot acquit; but must leave them to the judgment of God, who will render to every one according- to his deserving*.
OF THE ARTICLES OF OUR FAITH.
Of the Rule of Faith, the Holy Scriptures.
1. Q. What was the second thing which your Godfathers arid Godmothers promised in your name?
A. That I should believe all the Articles of the Christian Faith.
2. Q. Where are those Articles to he found?
A. In the Holy Scriptures; and particularly in those of the New Testament.
3. Q. What mean you by the Holy Scriptures?
A. I mean those books, which through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, were written by Moses and the prophets under the law; and by the Apostles and Evangelists of Christ, since the publishing of the Gospel, to direct us in the knowledge of God, and of the duty which he requires of us.
Proofs Subjoined.—2 Tim. iii. 16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Pet. i. 21. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
4. Q. How do you know what books were written by these persons, in order to these ends?